Adulting is hard when you don’t have the facts. Here’s a cleaning schedule for 10 items that don’t come with instructions.
1. SHEETS: EVERY 1 TO 2 WEEKS
Skin cells, sweat, dust mites … don’t even think about what’s building up on the sheets you dive into each night. Just wash them. Once a week or every other week should do it unless you’re an especially damp sleeper.
2. MAKEUP BRUSHES: EVERY MONTH
You do clean your makeup brushes, right? Right? If not, now’s the time to start. Even if the thought of sweeping bacteria onto your face doesn’t gross you out, think about the fact that a dirty brush is full of old product. Cleaning your brushes refreshes them and makes them both more effective and more likely to last.
3. PILLOWS: EVERY 6 MONTHS
Yes, you need to wash your pillows. You also need to replace them every few years. If you’re still laying your head on the pillow from your childhood bedroom (or even your college dorm room), it’s time for a trip to the store.
4. DISH TOWELS: EVERY WEEK
Your dish towels are like little garbage cans, collecting not only tiny bits of food but also any bacteria and viruses that live on your kitchen counters, in your dishes, and on your hands.
5. BRA: EVERY 3 TO 4 WEARS
It’s hard to find a bra that fits you well. Once you’ve got one, you can make it last by hand-washing it gently only every three to four wears. Hang your bras up to dry; the heat of a dryer can damage their elastic. If hand-washing is just too much hassle, you can wash your bras in a lingerie bag in cold water on the gentle cycle.
6. BATH TOWELS: EVERY 3 TO 4 USES
Not only are bath towels rubbed all over your body, but they’re also soaked with water every time you use them, and we all know how much bacteria love water.
7. WINTER GLOVES: 3 TO 4 TIMES PER SEASON
“Think about the facial oil, makeup, and perfume buildup, plus the germs you pick up with gloves,” wardrobe consultant Corinne Phipps said in Real Simple. She recommends hand-washing knit gloves, dry-cleaning leather gloves, and following the washing instructions for anything made with synthetic fiber.
8. COMFORTER: EVERY 6 MONTHS
“I like to time the washing of my comforter to the changing of the seasons,” home organizing expert Maeve Richmond told the Huffington Post, “so I wash once when the weather gets cold, and my desire to snuggle in bed increases, then again in the spring for a fresh start.”
9. JEANS: EVERY 4 TO 5 WEARS
“Don’t wash them every time you wear them,” J Brand’s head of design Mary Bruno told Who What Wear. “There are optical brighteners in most laundry detergents, which will change the color of your jeans too quickly. I think it’s best to wash them every four or five times.” Bruno recommends washing your jeans in cold water and has a great tip for keeping them fresh between wears: “Hang your jeans and let them air out between wearing.”
10. HAND TOWELS: EVERY 2 TO 3 DAYS
Yes, that often. It seems excessive until you think about where your hand towels are hanging (typically right by the fecal-bacteria-spraying toilet) and how often you get them wet.